Maine Writer

Its about people and issues I care about.

My Photo
Name:

I enjoy writing!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A nation grieves with the Biden family

Very sad news given to the world by a grieving father. A young man who was a promising world leader has died. Our sincere sympathy  to this grieving family.

Beau Biden (left) with his father Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden announced to the world that his son Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III, 46, died on Saturday, May 30, 2015, in Bethesda, Maryland.  It's difficult to understand how the Biden family has been dealt such intense bereavement, because Beau was predeceased by his mother and a sister, who were killed in an automobile accident, when he was a toddler.

Mr. Biden III, was an Iraq War veteran who served as the attorney general of Delaware. He died after battling brain cancer, according to the vice president's office.

Biden III and his family faced several traumatic challenges:


When he was only 3, just weeks after his father, Joe Biden, had been elected to the Senate, the younger Biden was seriously injured in a 1972 car crash that killed his mother and infant sister. His father was sworn into office at his hospital bedside.

As a young college student, not long after his father's 1987 presidential campaign imploded among allegations of plagiarism, he was back in the hospital, holding vigil with other family members as Joe Biden underwent surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm.

"Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known," his father wrote in a statement.


Biden had suffered known health problems dating back to 2010, when he experienced a stroke that did not affect his motor skills or speech.

In 2013, Beau Biden was treated at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after he became disoriented and weak while on vacation. He was diagnosed with brain cancer, and after undergoing surgery was given a clean bill of health.

Sadly, the cancer returned this spring and Biden pursued aggressive treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the vice president's office said. He died Saturday evening, surrounded by his extended family.

Aside from Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden, Beau Biden is survived by his wife, Hallie; two children, Natalie and Hunter; a brother, also named Hunter; and a half-sister, Ashley.

He survived the horrible wreck that claimed his mother and sister

Throughout his 2010 and 2013 health episodes, Beau Biden continued serving as Delaware's attorney general, a position to which he was first elected in 2006. A Democrat like his father, he served for two terms, and announced in 2014 he wouldn't seek another four years in office as he prepared a run for governor.

Beau Biden is the second of Joe Biden's children to precede their father in death; the vice president's 1-year-old daughter Naomi was killed in a Christmastime car accident in 1972. The crash also took the life of Joe Biden's first wife, Neilia, who was Beau's mother.

Beau Biden was 2 years old when his mother was killed in the crash. He and his younger brother Hunter were injured but survived the accident, which occurred when a truck careened into the car the family was riding in.

Joe Biden was sworn in as senator at his sons' hospital bedside a few weeks later, and according to the 1988 political biography "What It Takes," by Richard Ben Cramer, the first-term lawmaker threw himself headlong into single parenthood.

"Joe was the parent. Period. No confusion," Cramer wrote. "Joe didn't want anybody else raising his kids, thanks. He was there every night, every weekend. They had stories at bedtime, games of catch on the lawn, outings, trips, places to go."

Beau and Hunter encouraged their father to remarry, and in 1977 Jill Jacoobs, now Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, became their stepmother.

"My mom came along -- I have two moms now -- who came along in 1977 and rebuilt our family, and helped my dad rebuild our family," Beau Biden told CNN in 2012. "She's an incredible mother."

Beau Biden grew up in Delaware and graduated from the same Catholic high school as his father. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and attended law school at Syracuse University.

He was a prosecutor and a politician. 
After serving as a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia for nine years, and briefly working in private practice, Biden won his first election for attorney general in 2006 by 13,000 votes. When he was re-elected in 2010, Beau Biden increased his winning margin to 149,000 votes over his Republican competitor.

During his time in office, Biden took aggressive tactics to tamp down on child sex crimes perpetrators, netting 180 convictions. He also went after banks and mortgage lenders for their roles in perpetrating crooked loans.

A captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, Beau Biden was deployed to Iraq for a year in 2008, serving in an administrative post with the 261st Signal Brigade.

As a campaign surrogate when Joe Biden was selected as Barack Obama's running mate, Beau Biden acted as a fierce partisan, criticizing Republican opponents for lacking what he said was his father's tell-it-like-it-is honesty. His 2012 speech at the Democratic National Convention brought his father to tears.

And while Beau Biden chose to pursue the same field as his father -- from whom he inherited a square jaw and folksy patter -- he claimed in 2010 the pair didn't regularly talk politics.

"Most of the drama doesn't come to our dinner table. We talk about what my kids are doing -- his grandkids -- my brother's three kids, my sister, we talk about the family," he told CNN. "Most of the time it's not about politics."

Beau Biden is the first child of a sitting president or vice president to die since Patrick Bouvier Kennedy passed away two days after his birth in 1963.

On Saturday, Vice President Biden said in his statement, "More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father's saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did."

President Obama, writing in a statement, quoted Irish poet William Butler Yeats -- a favorite of the vice president's -- in honoring Beau Biden's life.

Yeats wrote, "I have believed the best of every man. And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher."

"Beau Biden believed the best of us all," Obama said. "For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher."

Beau Biden is survived by his wife, Hallie, and children Natalie, 11, and Hunter, 9, along with his father and stepmother, a brother and sister, a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, and three nieces.

Funeral arrangements were not announced. Beau Biden is entitled to military funeral honors, said Lt. Col. Len Gratteri, a spokesman for the Delaware National Guard.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Martin O'Malley may have caught the liberal political star

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley may have captured one of the most coveted opportunities in all of politics. 

By announcing his intention to run for the 2016 presidential nomination, it's possible that O'Malley snagged the political timing "ring" of opportunity!

There's no doubt that the nation is truly skeptical about politics as usual. In other words, the "same old" names are simply not inspiring voters. Moreover, polarized politics turns people away from politics, altogether. Maybe, O'Malley is a candidate who can capture the upside of this political weariness.


Of course, Hillary Clinton's campaign is ignited by her female gender and the potential for being elected the first woman president. Her problem, of course, is her husband William Jefferson Clinton. Unfortunately, husband Bill gives the right wing extremists enough negative publicity to create conspiracy theories. These political right wingers can spin more yarns about Clinton than Rapunzel's hair could possibly manufacture in the Grimm's fairy tale.

On the other hand, Governor O'Malley is a fresh and energized face. Most important, his Irish name isn't affiliated with Bush or Clinton.

There's a rare political opportunity for Martin O'Malley to capture the energy of the rising and liberal Democratic progressive energy, now emerging as a counter to right wing extremism. 

Martin O'Malley may have an opportunity not being given to Hillary Clinton.  He has a chance to speak about his vision for America, if he happens to be elected President of the United States.

Americans might even like Martin O'Malley. 

Of course, the question is, will Americans also trust Martin O'Malley?

It's probably a good omen to see the former Governor of Maryland O'Malley standing proudly in front of the Baltimore skyline when announcing his 2016 presidential campaign.  In other words, O'Malley is saying, "I can fix what's socially broken".  It's his salient reference to Baltimore's incendiary history as being a hotbed of racial violence.

Well....hmmmmm, maybe O'Malley can fix things. But, maybe he can't.  Racial problems have been in the making in Baltimore and other cities for at least 100 years.  

Yet, O'Malley is certainly a fresh face and an attractive candidate. He's a handsome family man with a history of public service.

Obviously, O'Malley doesn't seem to be a political heavy weight, right now. Nevertheless, it's possible that his "helium political weight" could lift him to the top of the cluster of the plethora of same old politically polluted candidates.  

Some political pundits claim that O'Malley isn't really running to be President. Rather, he wants to run as Hillary Clinton's vice presidential candidate. Therefore, his 2016 campaign is really a way  of testing his Democratic political attractiveness. Well.....it's also possible that O'Malley's campaign will take off with his own energy and leave Mrs. Clinton in the position of being offered the vice-presidential nomination position.  

O'Malley might be able to receive some meaningful news coverage (as opposed to Mrs. Clinton's right wing obsessed angst). Thereby, he has the potential to snatch the limelight away from Hillary Clinton's political ambitions.

One asset Martin O'Malley brings to the 2016 presidential campaign is good timing. It's possible the O'Malley political clock is set just right. He's programmed to ring on the rise of progressiveness.

Labels: , ,

Putting a halo on Dorothy Day shows her no love | National Catholic Reporter

Putting a halo on Dorothy Day shows her no love | National Catholic Reporter

I've been interested in the life of Dorothy Day ever since being invited to participate in a discussion about her biographical video titled "Entertaining Angels", starring Moira Kelly and Martin Sheen.

This article in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is another perspective on the Dorothy Day cause for sainthood.  I suspect Dorothy Day's "miracle", an intervention worthy of notice before being declared "blessed," will be to see if her cause for sanctity moves forward, at all. Rather than a "cure", usually the sign required, her biography alone is a story of conversion and even miraculous redemption. In fact, Dorothy Day was not the sort of person one would pick out of a group and say, "Look, she might be a saint someday".  No way.

Nevertheless, as certain miracles are required to be evaluated, based on there being no probable earthly intervention, then Dorothy Day's life story is certainly qualified to be in this mysterious category. There's no way an earthly intervention would bring Dorothy Day's cause forward.  Rather, her inspirational life story stands as the miracle for her cause. In my opinion.




Labels:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Ted Cruz hypocrisy disquafies him from running for President of the United States

Of course, American must absolutely help Texas! 

Americans have a moral and civic responsibility to aid the devastated flood stricken Texans to rebuild their communities, that were recently devastated by flash floods. Sadly, dozens of innocent people lost their lives in the rising bayou waters brought on by torrential rains.

Nevertheless, helping Texas to receive federal help during disaster and recovery operations, following the state's devastating May floods, needs support from the US Congress. Incredulously, Texas Senator Cruz was not among those who supported help for 2012 Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey. But now  he wants federal money to help Texas.

Therefore, this message is addressed to Senator Cruz.  

Dear Senator Cruz.  

Maybe you don't know this. Texans are Americans. 

Of course,we all support disaster relief, supported by federal tax money, to help the recent flood victims and property owners to recover from unexpected floods.  

As a matter of fact, Texans are Americans, just like the citizens who live in New Jersey. Do you know that?

As you know, when Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast in 2012, you incredulously opposed disaster relief, paid for by the Federal Government, to help the people who lost life and property, as a result of the devastating coastal flooding.  

In my opinion, speaking to you as an American citizen with a US passport....you must recall your unqualified candidacy to run for US President.  Unless you can demonstrate your allegiance to the United States of America, you are clearly unqualified to even consider running for the office.  (I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for whom it stands, one nation under God indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all.)

It's irresponsible of you to oppose New Jersey's need for federal disaster aid, while supporting the same for your worthy Texas citizens.  

I'm calling on you to withdraw your candidacy for the presidency.


Ted Cruz adopts a new posture on disaster aid
By Steve Benen

Texas torrential rain this week caused deadly flooding, affecting communities across much of the state. 

According to NBC News’ “at least 23 people died in flooding across the state this week.”

Given the disaster, it’s hardly surprising to see members of Texas’ congressional delegation speaking up in support of federal disaster relief. 

“There are a series of federal statutory thresholds that have to be satisfied. Initially, it appears those thresholds are likely to be satisfied by the magnitude of the damage we’re seeing,” Cruz said while touring the flooding in Wimberley, Texas, according to Texas television station KSAT.

“Democrats and Republicans in the congressional delegation will stand as one in support of the federal government meeting its statutory obligations to provide the relief to help the Texans who are hurting.”

This is, of course, exactly what one expects of a senator after his state is confronted with a crisis. Indeed, note the senator’s specific phrase: “statutory obligations.” For Cruz, it’s not even optional – Americans have a duty under the law to come to Texas’ aid.

But, Cruz took a very different posture in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, when he opposed federal disaster relief.

“This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington – an addiction to spending money we do not have,” the Texas Republican said at the time

“The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt.”

He made no references to “statutory obligations” at the time.

If this seems like a familiar dynamic, it’s probably because it’s far more common than it should be.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), for example, voted against emergency aid to Hurricane Sandy victims, arguing at the time that he didn’t “think Arkansas needs to bail out the Northeast.” But last July, Cotton was quick to seek federal aid for Arkansas when it suffered severe flooding.

And in Colorado, every Republican in the state’s congressional delegation voted against post-Sandy relief, and then every Republican in the state’s congressional delegation wanted emergency funding for their own state in September 2013.

Update: Brian Philips, a senior communications aide to Sen. Cruz, has since said the senator’s opposition to post-Sandy aide was based on what Cruz saw as “pork” in the bill, not opposition to federal assistance itself. Cruz eventually called the federal response “appropriate.” (Oh paaaleeeze.....Cruz never gave a second of sympathy to the needs of New Jersey people who were suffering during Hurricane Sandy....)




Labels: , , ,

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Vladimir Putin will be a victim of mortality

Vladimir Putin is now preventing the public from learning about Russian military deaths. He says the deaths are state secrets.  Well doubt the families of the dead will buy into that for very long.

So, how long can Putin get away with preventing his military from informing families about the circumstances of their relatives deaths and not suffere the consequences of an assassination himself? 

Evil Putin simply can't continue to hide deaths of his military, while, at the same time, continuing to murder anyone who is his adversary.

One fact President Putin must face.  He is mortal.  It's impossible for him to live forever.

Undoubtedly, given Putin's ability to kill everyone he dislikes plus hide his nation's military deaths from the public.....means his own mortality must be at risk.  His paranoid behavior is self serving and also life shortening. 

I don't know to communicate in Russian but "what goes around comes around" must be translated somewhere among the language's proverbs.  


(CNN)For years, the tally of Russian troops who died at war has been a state secret. Now, President Vladimir Putin says his government won't reveal the number of military deaths during peacetime either.

A new presidential decree puts Russia's military losses "in peacetime during special operations" on the country's list of state secrets alongside "information disclosing losses in manpower in wartime," Russia's state-run TASS news agency reported Thursday.

Critics of the Kremlin were quick to tie the move to the simmering conflict in Ukraine.

"Not only is this decree a blatant attack on freedom of expression, it also has sinister undertones that will intensify speculation President Putin has something to hide -- specifically losses incurred by Russia's military in Ukraine," John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Director, said in a statement.

Russia has repeatedly denied it's sending troops into the neighboring country amid reports that its soldiers are once again amassing along the border.


And on Thursday, a Kremlin spokesman dismissed any connection between Putin's decree and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the move "reflected the general need to protect Russia's national interests," Russia's state-run Sputnik News website reported. Asked whether Putin intended to authorize special military operations in Ukraine, Peskov said the Russian President "is not contemplating this possibility."

The Kremlin admits that Russians fight alongside separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, but says that they do so as volunteers.

But "Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin's War in Ukraine," a report published Thursday by the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank, says "overwhelming and indisputable" evidence shows Russia's involvement in the fighting.

"Russian citizens and soldiers are fighting and dying in a war of their government's own making," the report says, citing satellite images and open source materials as proof.

Incredulously, there's another dismal report about
Russia using mobile crematoriums to burn dead soldiers?
CNN's Alla Eshchenko, Nick Paton Walsh, Jack Maddox and Matthew Chance contributed to this report.

Labels:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stalker Carly Fiorina captures media because she wants to upstage Hillary Clinton

Failed Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is obsessed with Hillary Clinton.  If the greatest sign of success is to see copycat wanna-bees swarming after the presidential candidate leader, then Fiorina is a harbinger of Hillary Clinton's success.  She follows Hillary Clinton like a circus clown who runs around with a fly swatter net to deflect danger from the trapeze star. In other words, Fiorina knows she can't swarm her own audience, so she;s stalking the star Hillary Clinton, just to get attention.  I believe the Secret Service should be alerted to Fiorina's weird  stalking behavior.  

In fact, if any other person were following Hillary Clinton, just to draw a crowd, there's no doubt the Secret Service would be involved in surveillance of the stalker.

It's difficult to understand how the news media can report on Fiorina's outrageous behavior, while snubbing Hillary Clinton's Democratic message to help the middle class to improve our human condition.

America doesn't need a stalker to be President. Rather, America needs a proven, and experienced political and humanitarian leader.

Here's what Washington Post article reports:

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina says it's a coincidence that she was in South Carolina on the same day as Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Julie's note: oh paaaaleeeze!)

Despite intermittent rain showers, a barbecue smoker was going full blast turning out what a local tout called "smack-your-granny good" brisket and pulled pork. Somebody else was selling hot dogs, a guy was walking around yelling about Benghazi and Fiorina was doing a live hit on CNN -- which was right before her live hit across the street with anchor Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC.

Clinton is Fiorina's foil and chief raison d'etre in the crowded Republican primary field. The only woman among the Republican candidates, she tells crowds that her business background makes her the more accomplished choice to become the first woman president. (She neglects to mention, her HP experience flopped.)

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton took numerous questions at campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire last week, including on her Iraq war stance and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. (This is truly old news)

Clinton had declined to do so for weeks before that, including at a campaign stop in Nevada and elsewhere.

Of course, Fiorina has taken advantage of Mrs. Clinton's reticence, but her message is boring.  She can't build a campaign on negativity. Although Fiorina is stalking for attention, her lack of vision, failed business experience and lack of name recognition are simply a toxic political cocktail.  At the GOP candidates debates, Fiorina will be nothing more than the token female candidate who will take time away from other, more seasoned candidates. She'll deprive others who might really have something to say, given the time to express themselves.  If Fiorina really dislikes Hillary Clinton, as much as she harps about it, then her role in the GOP school play should be to have one of the qualified Republican candidates win the primaries and compete in the 2016 election.

By the way, perhaps the Secret Service should be evaluating how Fiorina is scheduling her bogus campaign stops. There's a fine line between speaking where Hillary Clinton happens to be campaigning and stalking the candidate for the purpose of stirring up deliberate harassment.  Upstaging Hillary Clinton is not a noble presidential characteristic and it demonstrates lateral violence rather than leadership.



Labels: , ,

As Maine Goes so Goes the Native American Nations

Oh boy. With racial tensions smoldering in America's inner cities, now comes Native American unrest in rural Maine. The state's avoidable conflict with Maine's Native Ameicans and the government could blow up. Plus, there's a risk to attract federal government interventions.

Maine's native Americans include primarily the Passamaquoddy, Penobscots, Maliseets and the Micmacs.  

Nearly everyone will agree, these tribes were robbed of opportunities to become economically self sufficient when a Maine ballot measure voted against allowing the tribes to open gambling casinos on tribal properties.  

Then, incredulously, private casino enterprises somehow opened in Bangor and another one was licensed in a remote area of Maine, a place called Oxford, sort of west of Augusta. (I've been to Oxford.....might as well enter Einstein's time warp machine.)

Then, the Native Americans were denied fishing rites on what they claim are their coastal waters. Although Native Americans can hunt and fish nearly anytime of year on tribal lands, the fact that the stock they wanted to harvest was selling in Japan for two thousand dollars a pound (!!!) obviously caught the attention of Maine's Governor LePage.  Now, the Native Americans are told they can't fish for the purpose of selling the stock they catch.  That did it!

Meanwhile, the Governor also revoked an executive order he signed four years ago to establish a collaborative working relationship with the tribes.  It seems ridiculously stupid to me for Governor LePage, the man with virtually all the political power, to "revoke" his executive order, regardless of the circumstances.  It's like he's a child who's taking his toys back, to go home. It's a childishly ludicrous action.

If Governor LePage doesn't fix this schism soon, he  risks attracting the federal government, that are supposed to be overseeing the well being of Native American tribal rites. Maine certainly doesn't need the negativity of a riff with the federal government and a renewed Indian War, especially during the height of tourist season. Moreover, as Maine goes, so may other Native American Nations.

Here's the story from the Portland Press Herald:

AUGUSTA — The Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes withdrew their representatives to the Maine Legislature on Tuesday in the latest sign of a growing rift in the historically troubled relationship between the sovereign tribes and the state.


Rep. Wayne Mitchell of the Penobscot Nation and Rep. Matthew Dana of the Passamaquoddy Tribe walked off the House chamber floor after lamenting what Dana portrayed as state attempts to perpetuate a “guardian-to-ward relationship” with the tribal nations. Tribal leaders assailed policies they say failed to respect the tribes’ sovereignty, denied members sustenance fishing rights and ignored tribal culture.

“Our hope is that one day the state will recognize us for who we are and value the tribes as sovereign partners and engage in a relationship of mutual respect,” Dana said. “Until then, we simply must decide our own future. If history has taught us anything, it certainly is that lesson.”

Gov. Paul LePage’s office responded that the administration is a willing partner, but said “the tribes have had difficulty working together, and they have not been cooperative in working with the state.”

It was unclear Tuesday to what extent the tribes are severing ties with the state. When asked whether Penobscot and Passamaquoddy leaders would choose not to follow some state laws, Chief Fred Moore of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point replied, “We will confer amongst ourselves and make decisions accordingly.”

The representative of the Houlton Band of Maliseets retained his seat in the Legislature. The state’s fourth tribe, the Micmacs, doesn’t have a seat.

The two withdrawals are the latest in a string of setbacks in tribal-state relations playing out in the State House, in courtrooms and occasionally along the waterways that pass through the tribes’ ancestral lands. Although those incidents date back many years – and are oftentimes rooted in differing interpretations of the landmark Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 – tribal leaders said a series of recent events under the LePage administration prompted Tuesday’s protest.

Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis, whose tribe has roughly 2,300 members and controls more than 100,000 acres of land, said he respects the importance of diplomacy, but that the tribes must focus on relationships that allow self-governance and respect tribal culture.

“So to our people today we tell you this: We declare our independence, but we also say to you all that we will walk around with our chins up from now on,” Francis said. “We have gotten on our knees for the last time.”

The statement from LePage’s office acknowledged that Maine’s four tribes – the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Aroostook Band of Micmacs – “are sovereigns in their own right.” But his office also made clear the limits of that relationship.

“The relationship between the state of Maine and the individual tribes is a relationship between equals, each with its own set of responsibilities,” the statement says. “Any lands or natural resources owned by the tribes or held in trust are subject to the laws of the state and to the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the courts of the state to the same extent as any other person or lands or natural resources.”

Those “lands or natural resources” have been at the center of several of the recent disagreements.

TENSE RELATIONSHIP DETERIORATES

The Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes have clashed with the LePage administration and with Attorney General Janet Mills over sustenance fishing rights – most notably over access to the lucrative glass eel, or elver, fishery – as well as tribal courts’ authority to prosecute domestic violence committed by non-members on reservation land.

The Penobscot Nation is locked in a power struggle with the LePage administration over water-quality standards in the Penobscot River. Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sided with the tribe and ordered the LePage administration to craft stricter water quality standards to better protect sustenance fishing on the reservation, or else face federal intervention.

Additionally, tensions between the LePage administration and the Passamaquoddy Tribe have been elevated since 2013, when law enforcement officers seized the gear of tribal elver fishermen and the tribe issued three times as many elver fishing licenses as alloted to it by the state.

In April, LePage revoked a 2011 executive order aimed at improving cooperation among the state and Maine’s four recognized tribes. At the time, LePage said efforts to improve relations with the tribes “have proved to be unproductive because the state of Maine’s interests have not been respected.”

Tribal leaders did not mince words during a rally held Tuesday outside the State House.

“We have gone to great lengths to demonstrate good faith and communication, only to be lied to,” said Moore, chief of the Passamaquoddy reservation at Pleasant Point. “The truth as expressed one day is not the same truth that is understood the following day. And we can’t communicate that way. We cannot conduct business in that manner.”

The tribes also have had several run-ins with Mills, the state’s Democratic attorney general. Mills has defended LePage’s positions on the elver fishery and, more recently, on a bill allowing the tribes to prosecute non-members for domestic violence in their own courts.

The latter bill, L.D. 268, received the full backing of Maine’s tribes and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, which argued that it would correct an enforcement hole that has allowed non-tribal members to commit crimes against Native Americans on tribal lands.

Tribal officials say the bill also would bring Maine statutes up to date with federal ones, which authorized tribal prosecutions of non-members for domestic violence with the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

Mills has opposed L.D. 268, arguing that district attorneys already were willing and able to enforce and prosecute all state laws regardless of an individual’s “tribal membership or race.” Mills also said it was unclear if state courts would permit tribal courts to subject non-tribal members to tribal laws.

In addition, Mills warned that L.D. 268 would amend the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, in which the tribes agreed to be subject to the laws and jurisdiction of Maine, except for “internal tribal matters,” hunting and certain fishing rights on tribal territory. The ambiguity of the phrase “internal tribal matters” has led to decades of debate, however.

“Nothing is black and white with these issues,” Mills said. “Nothing is simple.”

Legislative records show that the Penobscots first sent representatives to the State House in 1823, and the Passamaquoddies in 1842. The tribal representatives’ role in and recognition by state government have been tempestuous, however. An effort in 1939 to give Indian representatives full speaking and voting rights failed and, two years later, lawmakers ousted the tribal representatives altogether.

Their status was gradually restored, and in 1975, tribal representatives were once again given seats and the ability to speak during floor debates.

HOUSE WELCOMES INDIAN VOICES

The Houlton Band of Maliseets gained a House seat in 2012. Although tribal representatives can introduce bills and participate in the committee process, their votes are not counted on the House floor.

House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, issued a statement Tuesday urging the tribal representatives to reclaim their seats.

“The Passamaquoddy and Penobscot people will always have a place in the Maine House,” Eves said. “I’m surprised and concerned to see Rep. Mitchell and Rep. Dana withdraw from the Legislature. I am personally committed to working with them and those they represent to ensure their voices are heard in the House chamber. I hope they will reclaim their seats.”

Staff Writer Steve Mistler contributed to this report.
Kevin Miller can be contacted at 791-6312 or at:

kmiller@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinMillerPPH

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Investment in Baltimore - pay now or loose later

My colleagues, friends and classmates who grew up with me in Baltimore are understandably distraught about the city's future. How can Baltimore recover from the recent street riots, following the death of Freddie Gray? Well, my question is this. How can Baltimore prevent the growing incendiary social situation from getting worse? It can't be coincidence that the recent Baltimore riots happened after the Republcian Governor Larry Hogan cut inner city investments, especially education.

In fact, Hogan led Republicans stereotyped Baltimore's inner city problems. They never walked the walk of inner city people. In fact, when Hogan went to survey the recent riot devastation, he went when nobody was awake!  Hogan and his followers believe poverty is the result of laziness. But, they're having their stupid philosophy of social reform, aka, "get a job", handed to them in a platter. Decades of youth unemployment can't be fixed with a minimum wage job.

These are the choices. Like it or not. Expensive or not. Maryland either invests in inner city development, including providing education, job training and mentoring to unemployed people; or....be forced to fund overtime pay and increasing workmen's compensation rates for emergency  medical personnel, expensive trauma care costs resulting from violence and higher jail costs related to increasing criminal convictions, related to Baltimore's social breakdown.

Maryland taxpayers must suck up decades of neglect in Baltimore. As a result, they can pay to fix things now or continue to loose over time.  

Marylanders know how Baltimore has the potential to be a world class city. In fact, Baltimore is a destination American history attraction, a sports mecca and research magnet, especially with support from Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Believe me, readers, Johns Hopkins has the  resources to stay in Baltimore, or move someplace else!

Therefore, it makes sense for Marylanders to stand behind their proud heritage city.  

Pay now to build the Baltimore that should've been finished after the 1968 devastating riots, (after Martin Luther King was assassinated) or watch the infrastructure deteriorate while the commerce moves out.  That's the choice.

Baltimore has the perfect trilogy of resources, being "location, location, location".  Located on the Chesapeake Bay, with close proximity to highway systems, railroads, and airports.  

As a matter of fact, what Baltimore needs is an investment in pride and development of the inner city. Baltimore needs a Marshall Plan like the investment that rebuilt Germany after World War II.  Look where Germany is today? Then, compare Germany's resurrection with where Baltimore is at today.  I rest my case. 

Investment in Baltimore is essential. Pay now, or loose later.



Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Failed Russian response to Acquired Immune Deficiency- AIDS

An amazingly successful disease response has been reported out of San Francisco.  In fact, the city where the Acquired Immune Deficiency AIDS was once nearly epedemic, now reports being free of the disease!  

Meanwhile, the failed response by the Russian government to treating AIDS is now taking a toll on the country's victims. In fact, unlike the success in San Francisco, AIDS is spreading in Russia 

San Francisco, the city that was once the deadly AIDS epicenter of the world, is now striving to be AIDS-free. What does that mean, and why is San Francisco poised to achieve this goal the way no other American city could?

San Francisco General Hospital, Ward 86 was, for many years, a death camp with a dreamy view of palm trees and California sky. 
In the early ’80s, the average life expectancy of patients admitted there was 18 months—it was where people went to die. It was ground zero in America’s battle with AIDS, and where so much of the epidemic’s early iconography was crystallized: rag-and-bone bodies wasted from pneumonia or encephalitis, catatonia, seizures, bedside vigils. While there's still no cure for AIDS, and the rate of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable, the city is redoubling its assault on the disease that has claimed the lives of more than 19,000 of its residents.  They were inspired by Hillary Clinton’s 2011 speech at the National Institutes of Health, in which then-Secretary of State Clinton rallied for “an AIDS-free generation,” and emboldened by recent breakthroughs including PrEP and antiretroviral therapy (ART), San Francisco is committed to being the first city to reach zero—zero new HIV transmissions and zero AIDS patients.

Meanwhile, Russia has been unable to stop the spread of AIDS.  As a result, the disease is killing its victims. This means AIDS can again infect the world becasue the Russians are not doing much to prevent the spread inside and outside the country.


The Guardian Reports a terrible situation in Russia:

Almost as soon as two HIV-prevention activists set up outside the pharmacy in the outskirts of Moscow with two huge backpacks of supplies, a skinny young man with mussed hair and an impish grin quickly walked up to them.

“Do you have any ointment?” he asked, lifting up the leg of his tracksuit trousers to show a mass of red sores.

Asking what else he might need, the activists put antibiotic ointments, bandages and clean needles in a plastic bag.

“I don’t have any immunity, and this stuff is expensive in the pharmacy,” the young man said, giving his name only as Pavel, 28. His health problems arose from drinking and injecting heroin.

Asked if he takes steps to protect himself from contracting the Aids-related virus, he said he got clean needles, condoms and advice from the activists from the Andrey Rylkov Foundation.

This was Maryino, a far-flung district in south-east Moscow. Drug addicts tend to gather near the nondescript pharmacy here because it sells tropicamide eye drops, which are typically used to dilate the pupil, without a prescription. Users add tropicamide to intravenous drugs to amplify the effect of the low-grade heroin they’re using.

More than a dozen used needles were scattered in the parking lot and park outside the pharmacy, where a few middle-aged women were walking their dogs.

“We call them snowdrops,” said activist Lena Remnyova, who was giving out flyers inviting people to a drive to clean up the used needles. “Some people find flowers when the snow melts; we find needles,” said colleague Asya Sosmina.

Moscow is at the epicentre of a rising HIV epidemic: while the number of those infected in Russia pales in comparison with the numbers in sub-Saharan Africa, it is one of the few countries where rates are growing rather than declining.


The government does not offer substitution therapy or harm reduction outreach, and the impact of grassroots groups such as Rylkov, which has only 15 staffers, is limited.

The official count of Russians living with HIV has risen to 930,000 from 500,000 in 2010, and the actual number is probably much higher. (Of those registered, some 192,000 have already died.)

Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the federal Aids centre in Moscow, predicted this month that at least two million Russians are likely to be officially registered as HIV-positive within five years, and a total of three million will have the virus.

According to Pokrovsky, the failure stems from a lack of funding and the Kremlin’s family-values-based approach to HIV prevention. Funding for fighting the disease has increased to 21bn roubles (£270m) this year, but most will go to antiretroviral therapy rather than preventative measures, he said.

“We need to spend 10 times more on prevention,” Pokrovsky was quoted as saying earlier this month. “We need many more resources and we need some political decisions – and changes in the law in connection with methadone and the private lives of individuals.”

The reasons behind the HIV epidemic are twofold: intravenous drug use and unsafe sex. More than 60% of HIV-positive Russians are thought to have used drugs, but the most common method of spreading the disease is heterosexual intercourse. Yet what groups like the World Health Organisation see as the most effective treatment of intravenous drug addiction is illegal in Russia. Opioid substitution therapy programmes to wean addicts off drugs are banned, and the use or distribution of methadone is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Crimea, annexed from Ukraine in March 2014, served as a case study in the effects of such an approach. For many of the 800-plus patients who had been undergoing substitution treatment there, being cut off from these programmes was a death sentence.

Michel Kazatchkine, the UN special envoy for HIV/Aids in eastern Europe and central Asia, said in January that 80 to 100 of these patients had died.

Pokrovsky has proposed introducing sex education to Russian schools, but in December children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, who once argued that the “best sex education there is, in fact, is Russian literature and literature in general”, pledged it would “never” be taught in Russia.

“Most Russians are not in an official marriage, and a change in partners can lead to infection,” said Ilya Lapin, an HIV prevention advocate. “A man infects himself and then he infects his partner. The problem is the lack of knowledge and education, even though it’s easier to teach prophylactics than treat the disease.”

Instead of harm reduction programmes to improve the safety of drug addicts as a first step toward curing addiction, the official policy is one of rehabilitation in state-run institutions. But the paperwork required and strict schedule inhibits many drug users, and only 10-15% of patients at the city’s substance abuse centre make it through the month of detox and on to the free rehabilitation programme.

The lack of outreach has driven organisations such as the Rylkov Foundation to hit the streets for guerrilla harm-reduction work.

Five evenings a week, part-time employees like Remnyova and Sosmina stand near pharmacies selling tropicamide over the counter, mostly in the outlying districts of the city, where the drug problem is most acute.

Besides clean needles and bandages, they hand out HIV and hepatitis tests, the organisation’s newspaper and other HIV prevention literature, and naloxone, a drug that can be injected to help reverse an overdose.

“Our government thinks you need to just get rid of your drug addiction and your life will all work out,” said Maksim Malyshev, a former heroin user who kicked his addiction with the help of harm reduction activists and became outreach coordinator at the Rylkov foundation.

“But we’re realists because many people in our team are from the subculture, people who used drugs, people who still use drugs. To just quit completely doesn’t work, so we try to do things a different way.”

In the two hours before the pharmacy closes, 14 men and seven women accept bags of medical supplies and quickly whispered advice from the two activists. As they stand near the pharmacy, its security guard comes out to berate them for helping drug users. He leaves them alone after they point out that it’s his pharmacy that is selling drugs without a prescription.

Many addicts – knowing there is widespread stigma against them among both medical personnel and the population at large – are deterred from seeking help or getting treatment for infections. “When people see my hand and how varicose it is, they say get out of here,” said Sveta Yevseyeva – an occasional heroin user for the past 10 years – of the discrimination she faces every day. She can’t get a job because she’s on a register of known drug users, to which people are added if picked up by the police while high or if they leave detox early.

Many of those who stopped said they were aware of HIV prevention methods but that clean needles and medical products were hard to afford.

“We try to use clean needles and not share with unknown people, only with ones we know aren’t sick,” said one man who would give his name only as Sergei. But he admitted that a friend of his had been admitted to emergency care two months ago with Aids.

Activists hope President Vladimir Putin will adopt a more progressive approach to HIV prevention before it’s too late. “Organisations like ours inform him, we send him reports, we do independent reports, we study international recommendations,” Lapin said. “We talk about this, but he doesn’t hear us.”

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Beatification of Archbishop Romero of El Salvadore

At least 250,000 people have filled the streets of the capital San Salvador for the beatification ceremony.

When a person becomes worthy of Roman Catholic beatification, the process opens the road toward canonization or "Sainthood". 

For some reason unknown to me (and lots of other outsiders), the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvadore was more about Roman Catholic political dynamics than a focus on spiritual sanctity.

A youthful Father Oscar Romero with Salvadorans
(Photo courtesy of the Archbishop Romero Trust)
Perhaps Archbishop Romero was too embroiled in politics to garner support from the men who select saints, I don't know. Nevertheless, for whatever the reason, the martyred Archbishop prevailed and he's now "Blessed Oscar Romero".

Today, May 22 
Oscar Romero beatification drew huge El Salvador crowds

Oscar Romero - the Roman Catholic archbishop murdered during the 1980-92 civil war - was beatified at a ceremony in El Salvador attended by huge crowds.
At least 250,000 people have filled the streets of the capital San Salvador for the ceremony.

It is the last step before Archbishop Romero is declared a saint.

He was shot dead by a sniper as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel on 24 March 1980.

No-one has been prosecuted for the murder.

The beatification ceremony was presided over by Vatican envoy Cardinal Angelo Amato, who made a call for forgiveness.

"His preference for the poor was not ideological, but evangelical. His charity extended to his persecutors," he said.

Jule's note- Archbishop Romero's beatfication is yet another overt signal from the Jesuit Pope Francis about the human responsibility to take care of the millions and millions of the world's poor. Regardless of how "political" Archbishop may have been or not, he was immersed in activism to take care of the poor.

Archbishop Romero wasn't murdered by an assassin because he was defending the Roman Catholic faith (like Saint Thomas Becket who was also murdered, in Canterbury England, in 1170). 

Instead, Romero was defending the poor, while the Church in Rome didn't do much to help his efforts. 

After Romero's death, the Church didn't do much to advance his cause for beatification, either.

Until today, when he was finally beatified.

"Archbishop Romero's spirit remains alive and gives comfort to the marginalised people of the world," added Cardinal Amato.
'Proper reconciliation'

About 80,000 people died and 12,000 disappeared during the war in the Central American nation.

In a letter to the Archbishop of San Salvador, Luis Escobar Alas, Pope Francis said the beatification of Archbishop Romero created "a favourable moment for true and proper reconciliation.

"In this day of joy for El Salvador and also for other Latin American countries, we thank God for giving the martyr archbishop the ability to see and feel the suffering of his people," said the Pope in his letter.
At the scene: Katy Watson, BBC News


Archbishop Romero's Beatification

People started arriving overnight, keen to get a spot to watch what many people think is a long overdue recognition of a regional hero.

The people of El Salvador, carrying banners and chanting songs, were joined by people across the continent and further afield.

His supporters are not just those who lived through the civil war but younger generations too, who have listened to their homilies and say that his message was one of truth-telling and denouncing evil.

Oscar Romero is still a controversial figure in this divided country, though. There are those who feel he was more guerrilla than man of God. But they are not out in the crowds today.

The event began with a procession from the cathedral - where Archbishop Romero's remains lie in a crypt - to Saviour of the World square in the centre of San Salvador, several kilometres away.

Giant TV screens were placed across the capital so that those away from the stage can watch the ceremony.
'Stop the repression'

Archbishop Oscar Romero was not just a churchman. He took a stand during El Salvador's darkest moments, the BBC's Central America reporter Katy Watson says.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 22, 2015

Saudi Arabia is attacked by ISIS - but Senator Rand Paul obstructs Patriot Act

It defies gravity to believe it, but America's Republican Party is embroiled in inter-partisan brinkmanship, while the Middle East is a tinder box, heading towards the risk of experiencing the evil ISIS (Islamic non-State) to destroy civilization as we know it.


Senator Rand Paul is focused on the Patriot Act like Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned

Yes, let's get this right. Evil ISIS has taken the Iraq cities of Tikrit, and Ramadi. Unbelievably, they're even taken the Syrian ancient city of Palmyra from President Assad's defenses. Now, it's reported ISIS has taken responsibility for an attack on a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia! 

Nevertheless, Presidential wanna-bee Senator Rand Paul is obsessed about the U.S. Patriot Act, a policy implemented by Republican President George W. Bush, post the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US in New York City and Washington DC. 

In other words, Senator Paul doesn't want to renew the policy.

Obviously, Senator Rand Paul forget what happened on 9-11. Not only is he a political myopic, he's also an amnesiac.

Rand is a myopic wanna-bee president and a political regressive. Rather than use his influence as a US Senator to improve the human condition, he is focused on his own egotistical regressive vision of the world according to him.  
Hello?  Senator Paul.  Try reading these letters:
 I n f R a S t r u c T u r e

Meanwhile, does the  US Senate even know that Saudi Arabia was attacked? Maybe the Congress just forgets where Saudi Arabia is located. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil supplier. If evil ISIS controls any of the Saudi oil fields, they will have the ability to fuel even more annihilating weapons to achieve their nefarious goals of destroying all of civilization.

Hello? Senator Rand Paul? Evil ISIS wants to destroy all of civilization as we know it. Your Patriot Act myopia is truly a waste of time. You're like Emperor Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned.

BBC News reportsSaudi Arabia attack: Islamic State claims Shia mosque bombing

The Islamic State (IS) group says it was behind a suicide bombing on a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia that killed at least 21 people.

The attack in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province is the first to be claimed by the Saudi branch of IS, which was formally established last November.

The claim was posted on Twitter with an image of the bomber by an account that is a reliable source on the group.

IS has previously threatened to attack Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

Witnesses reported a huge blast at the Imam Ali mosque in the village of al-Qadeeh, in Qatif governorate during Friday prayers.

The Saudi health minister told state television that at least 21 people had been killed and more than 80 injured in the blast.

A doctor at the hospital said that some people had been wounded "very critically".


'Terrorist crime'

Television pictures of the bombing showed shattered glass and debris inside the mosque, where scores were said to have been praying.

A spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry said the bomber detonated a suicide belt inside the mosque, causing a number of people to be "martyred or wounded".

"Security authorities will spare no effort in the pursuit of all those involved in this terrorist crime," the official said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

House party for Hillary 2016 in Brunswick Maine

Embedded image permalink

Although this iPhone picture is a little dark, the fact is Dick (seated) and I enjoyed our visit to the Brunswick, Maine house party for Hillary Clinton 2016. We listened to plans for organizing supporters to elect our nation's first woman president.


Well, I finally had a chance to vent my frustration with the inability of Democrats to push back on vitriolic Republican rhetoric on social networking.  

We must learn to use social networking to our advantage!

Let's take the example of a tweet I received after posting a message about the #House_Party_Hillary_2016.  So, what happened is, a troll for right wing media instantly flooded my twitter feed with incoherent messages about conspiracy theories related to unsubstantiated hate about the world leader and humanitarian Mrs. Clinton.  

This is how I responded to the tweet, always in 140 characters. What I did was to hash tag: #Hillary_Clinton_humanitarian_world_leader and then posted this as a response to the vitriolic right winger tweet.  BUT, I knew the right wing tweeter was a troll for anything about Hillary Clinton. Therefore, as soon as I posted my # comment, I went to the tweeter's feed and blocked him.  Believe me, readers, absolutely nothing makes a right winger angrier than to be blocked by a liberal tweeter!  

Obviously, social networking and push back with the right wing trolls on twitter are not the world for the faint of heart. These right wing people are strange and angry.  But, Democratic push back must be done.  Let's learn how to deal with these social networking predators and fight them in real time, before they use their negative energy to take control of populist thinking. 

In my opinion, as a social networking guru, the right wing has decades of advantage on controlling our negative thinking. They have taken over our abilities to reason.  So, we Democrats must learn how to push back or we will loose our opportunity to elect a qualified woman to lead America.  

Let's elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 and begin by getting involved in social networking to support her campaign. Learn it and do it!

#Hillary_Clinton_2016!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Syria and all dangerous conflicts - what we know and what we don't know

"...congratulate those who carried it out. It sounds like it was a very successful mission." Senator Mitch McConnell (R)

"...courage showed by those who carried out the mission is immeasurable,..."

Yup. It's hard for those #Fox_and_Friends righties to admit, the recent brazen raid by US Special Forces into Syria, where they successfully killed the evil-ISIS chief finance officer (CFO) Abu Sayyaf and took his wife hostage,  was a "boots on the ground" success.

Nevertheless, even though the righties choke when they agree on the amazing efficiency of the invasion, kill and capture, the danger faced by the Special Forces on this raid were overwhwelming.

Obviously, I've never been to Dier Az Zor, in Syria, where the invasion occured, it seems to me the location must be difficult to enter and just as challenging to arrange an escape.  

Salute to those Special Forces who accomplished this mission.

Even in the midst of the extraordinary success, it's important for military strategists to remember how success cannot raise the expectation of unlimited captures. 

There's an unlikely premise for my cautionary words.

In fact, I recall only too well how we were warned, when we lived in the Philippines, to be very aware of how smart monkeys would use their own babies to lure humans into traps.  When kind humans tried to rescue a baby monkey, the tribe would descend on the attepted rescuier and literally tear them apart, just because it was a game.  I'm not saying the evil-ISIS would do what conniving monkeys would do, given the opportunity. Oh no.  Instead, I believe the evil-ISIS would do worse without compulsion.  

My unqualified advice to military strategists is to be aware of the potential for evil ISIS traps, using hostages as bait.  Similar to how the monkeys threw their babies into harms way, the  evil ISIS is highly capable to doing the same and who knows what else?Interesting to know how the evil wife of the now dead Sayyaf was, in fact, in charge of the ISIS hostages.  Hmmmmm, surely, she'll have key intelligent information about plots, traps and the keys to how to locate hostages.  What we don't know is how many more of these clandestine raids are in the planning.

Meanwhile....here's the scoop on how the right wing is having a tough time with President Obama's successful strategy to capture and kill a high level evil ISIS leader.

US special forces kill ISIL's Abu Sayyaf in Syria raid

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter says Abu Sayyaf's wife was captured during the operation.

16 May 2015 14:14 GMT | Middle East, ISIL, Syria


US special forces soldiers have killed a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group during a raid carried out in eastern Syria, the US secretary of defence said.

Pentagon chief Ash Carter said in a statement on Saturday that the raid in al-Amr had killed Abu Sayyaf when he "engaged US forces".

Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from the Bekaa valley in neighbouring Lebanon, said two US helicopters had taken part in the operation at an oil field east of the city of Deir Az Zor.

"Activists from the area say at least six people from ISIL were killed, including at least two of Arab nationalities; a Saudi and an Iraqi," Saleh said.

"We believe the operation may have taken place overnight or early Saturday."

The US put the number of ISIL deaths at about a dozen, and said no US soldiers were killed during the incident.


Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have been forced to admit on the Sunday shows that the Obama approved raid on ISIS in Syria has been successful.

On ABC’s This Week, Sen. McConnell said, “Well, the president has done a good job with these special operations type missions. Where I think the administration has fallen down is they tend not to favor, generally speaking, capture and interrogation. Although it’s good that the wife of this terrorist was captured and will be interrogated. I’ve been distressed, for example, about the willingness to release prisoners at Guantanamo. Look, this is not a criminal type matter. 


This is a defense matter. What you want to do is you want to capture people, you want to interrogate them, and you want to try to prevent the next atrocity. I wish we’d had, you know, frankly, more emphasis on capturing, detaining and interrogation than on strikes. Although the strikes are important, and I congratulate those who carried it out. It sounds like it was a very successful mission.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on Fox News Sunday, “For now, let’s just say it was a successful raid, and it’s good news. Obviously, anytime you can take away and degrade top leadership of an organization it’s a positive step forward….It remains a risk, but obviously we want to congratulate the men and women in uniform who carried it out and the President for undertaking the mission.”

McConnell and Rubio are two of the Republicans who tried to sabotage President Obama’s foreign policy with their letter to Iran, so for Republicans to not only admit the mission was a success, but also praise the president is something that has been virtually unseen during the Obama presidency.

Reports are that the US raid in Syria has killed 32 ISIS members including four leaders. The symbolic message that the raid sends is that terrorists are not safe anywhere on this Earth. It takes an unspeakable amount of leadership for the President to authorize a mission where special operations forces are going into a territory where they have no allies on the ground.

The courage showed by those who carried out the mission is immeasurable, but they wouldn’t have been there if Obama would not have approved the mission. As much as it must drive Republicans crazy, even they are admitting that President Obama has been successful.


Julie's P.S. And the next time Congress says "thank you for your service" they must also remember the bravery of these and others who are taking enormous risks to protect the world from growing more terrorism....

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dangerous Ukrainians and Russians at War

"United Nations says at least 6,000 people have been killed since fighting started in eastern Ukraine in April 2014." BBCNews

Presidential Czar Vlidimir Putin is determined to carve a road through the Ukraine to get to the annexed, and now isolated Crimea, and thereby to a warm water port.  By taking terrirotry from the Ukraine to reach the Crimea, the Russians would finally have the power to acess a warm water port for the purposes of developing its defense and to promote trade.

Tragically, the war between the Ukraine and Russia, over control of the Eastern Ukraine, is escalating.  Putin is driven to push his way through to the Crimea via the Ukraine, regardless of the consequences or how Europe feels about his relentless ambitions.  

Obviously, Putin has taken an approach similar to how Adolph Hitler handled strategies. It's evident that Putin will not retreat, regardless of the consequences.  Meanwhile, the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is accelerating with no end in sight.

In fact, the acrimony between Russia and the Ukraine is centuries old. Therefore, this recent aggression by Putin is painfully recreating old feuds, like eviscerating surgical wounds. 

In fact, Putin's ambitions will become his undoing. He simply can't outlive his ambitious agenda, because (hello President Putin?) you are mortal.

BBCNews Reports:
Ukraine crisis: President Poroshenko talks of 'real war' with Russia

Ukraine's president has told the BBC his country is now in a "real war" with Russia - and that Ukrainians should prepare for a Russian offensive.

President Petro Poroshenko told the BBC's Fergal Keane he did not trust his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

However he said he had no option but to negotiate with Mr Putin.

Russia denies Western accusations that it has sent regular troops and armour to help the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The United Nations says at least 6,000 people have been killed since fighting started in eastern Ukraine in April 2014.

Pro-Russian rebels made significant gains in the region, including, most recently, the rail hub of Debaltseve. They, and Russia, have denied they are receiving Moscow's support.

But Russia's role has again come into question, after the capture on Saturday of two men Ukraine said were elite Russian soldiers working in eastern Ukraine.

In a video, the men confirmed they were active Russian servicemen, but Moscow said they were no longer employed by the state when they were caught.  (Julie's note: Isn't this absolutely disgusting? How long will it take for this kind of abandonment to infect the Russian military?  I suspect this statement is part of Putin's toxic cocktail.)

In fact, the Ukrainian and Russian war is a tinder box surrounded by a ring of fire.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 18, 2015

Finally people are asking real questions about the failed Iraq War


Iraq War failures are too numerous to report. In fact, it's difficult to grasp how so many US defense failures could continue, even compounded, without demanding accountability from Congressional committees.

As a result of these failures, the body counts in the casualities of the Iraq War are reported in numerous websites.

Estimates of the casualties from the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (beginning with the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and the ensuing occupation and insurgency) have come in many forms, and the accuracy of the information available on different types of Iraq War casualties varies greatly.

Scientific surveys of Iraqi deaths resulting from the first four years of the Iraq War found that between 151,000 to over one million Iraqis died as a result of conflict during this time. A later study, published in 2011, found that approximately 500,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the conflict since the invasion. Counts of deaths reported in newspapers collated by projects like the Iraq Body Count project found 174,000 Iraqis reported killed between 2003 and 2013, with between 112,000-123,000 of those killed being civilian noncombatants.


Now, it's possible the voters will finally asks the questions that our US media and the Congress were simply too afraid to ask.

1. Why did President George Bush 41 disregard the advice of Norman Schwarzkopf and invade Baghdad,  when he had an open road into the city and the citizens were hailing the Americans as conquering heroes?

2.  Why did President George Bush 43 create a myth about Iraq harboring weapons of mass destruction as a premise to invade a sovereign nation?

3.  Why did the Americans allow the Iraqi Kurds to be massacred after they revolted against President Saddam Hussein?

4.  Why is it the American tax payers have funded untold billions of dollars to build the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan, while our Congress defunds our public schools, universities, health  care and ignore the crumbling state of our national infrastructure?

And the list could continue.....but four questions in one blog is really all any questioner would need to determine clear and convincing evidence of the Iraq failures.

Meanwhile, American voters are finally asking the questions that were, for too long, ignored by the US media and our Congress.

The Iraq War was a failure. Americans lost this war. Indeed, we're even loosing what was gained by US military treasure, because the coward Iraqi army are incompetent when challenged to defend their own nation against the take over by evil-ISIS extremists.

It was George Bush 41 and his son George Bush 43 who created the synergistic Iraq failures. There's no point in creating a trifecta of failures regarding this international fiasco.  

Let's let the American voters ask Jeb Bush to account for his father's and his brother's failures. Obviously, American doesn't want yet another failed Bush administration policy to lead our nation.  Voters will have the courage to demand accountability for the Iraqi War failures. 

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Texas imploding - Republican leadership must demonstrate intelligence

"..it's just another Tuesday in the lunatic asylum of American politics..."

It makes no sense, whatsoever, to believe an invasion of Texas is planned. This premise is as preposterous as believing Unidentified Flying Objects are infiltrating the human genus. 

No doubt, people afflicted with mental illness can be deluded into believing any conspiracy theories. 

Nevertheless, Texas political leadership, especially Rick Perry, have an ethical responsibility to rise above the ridiculous conspiracy about an overt invasion of the Lone Star State by the federal government. 

In comic book strips, this outrageous scenario would be among the "Believe it or Not" pages.  Mostly, "not". Except, unbelievably, many who live in Texas are among those who believe it.

In my opinion, this over the top story is more evidence of how Republicans have become "the stupid and stupider party".  

People who subscribe to these "invasion" conspiracies are even "stupider" than I could ever imagine.  

What's dangerous is how these stupider than dirt people most likely, also, vote.  

Oh My God.Please spare us from the stupid and stupider party!


In July, dozens of Black Hawk helicopters will swoop down on southeastern America, depositing special forces troops in Texas and six other sates, said Amy Davidson in NewYorker.com.

For the U.S. military, the event marks the beginning of Jade Helm 15, a routine training exercise.  But, for a growing number of paranoid conservatives in the Lone Star State, it signifies something much more terrifying. For them, the exercise, is a U.S. military takeover of Texas and beyond.  

Incredulously, the conspiracy theorists believe President Obama is secretly plotting to seize Texas and other Republican dominated states.  "They're moving logistics in place for martial law", Texas Bob Wells told a newspaper reporter.  

"It's the same thing that happened to Nazi Germany".  Unfortunately, this crackpot theorizing isn't confined to the furthest corner of the conspiratorial fever swamps, " said Heather Digby Parton, in Salon.com.  Instead, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott upped the hysteria by ordering the state guard to monitor the U.S. Troops, citing his concern for Texans "constitutional rights".

Okay, okay!  President Obama isn't going to invade Texas, said David French in NationalReview.com.  But, you can't blame conservatives for feeling a little paranoid, not when they've been bullied, slandered and investigated under this administration.  

Apparently, Obama's Justice Department has repeatedly called conservative activists groups "potential domestic terrorists", and his administration turned one of its most powerful bureaucracies, the IRS, into a weapon (OMG!)

In this conspiracy, the IRS has targeted Tea Party groups with systematic audits. Moreover, the Constitutions is being repeatedly upstaged by presidential executive orders.  

In this atmosphere of earned distrust, it's no wonder that conservative citizens felt targeted and maligned.  The levels of paranoia in Texas go far beyond rational boundaries, said Leslie Savan in TheNation.com. This week, Walmart felt obliged to deny a wieespread rumor that all its Texas stores were closing so federal officials could use them as internment camps.  

Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Louie Gohmert joined Governor Abbott in validating the conspiracy theories about Jade Helm with Gohmert saying, "Patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned,"  Sadly, it's no longer shocking to hear Republicans talk this way, said Leonard Pitts in the Miami Herald.  Today, when a Republican governor calls out guardsmen to ensure that the president doesn't stage a military coup, "we shrug because it's just another Tuesday in the lunatic asylum of American politics".

Julie's note, just when we believe the Republican "stupid party" can't go any lower into stupidity, these stories confirm just exactly "how stupid is as stupid does". 

There must be somebody in Texas who is not stupid?  If so, please demonstrate intelligent leadership and provide a reality check to this crazy conspiracy fantasy.


Labels: